One of the often suggested steps to eating healthy is planning your weekly meals ahead of time. Planning your meals allows you to make sure you’re including a variety of foods in your weekly meals. It allows you to make one big shopping list and therefore helps prevent all of those mid-week quick stops at the grocery store–less trips to the store mean less impulse purchases of chips, candy, etc. And, planned meals and fewer grocery store trips means you’ll spend less money and who doesn’t want to do that?
The excuse I hear most for not planning meals ahead is lack of time. But that’s just hogwash! It can take as little as a half hour or so (once you’re organized) to plan a week’s worth of meals, and just 3 extra trips per week to the grocery store could easily take 3 times that much. And going out to eat or even the drive thru a few days a week adds up to more time spent. So there!
It may not surprise you but I am one of THOSE people that does plan my meals. Honestly, I think if I didn’t plan, the stress of not knowing what I was having for dinner each day would kill me. Planning meals can be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make. I’ve seen examples on Pinterest of very elaborate meal planning methods like this and this. As you can see by my menus for this week:
my system is on the simple side. I choose as many meals as I need for the week, but don’t necessarily know which meal is for which day. I know that I’ll be making pizza on Saturday for family movie night and I know the crock pot soup (cp soup on list) is for Monday when I have less than an hour between my son’s Tae Kwon Do and my daughter’s science team meeting. The rest, I play by ear. Some meals are very specific with the entree, side, and veg while others are just an entree without other specifics and I’ll pick a vegetable that looks good at the store or head to my freezer or pantry for a quick and easy veggie that night.
I challenge you non-meal planners to give it a try. I’m sure you’ll find you’re eating healthier and cheaper too! Start out slowly–make a list of a few of your family’s go-to meals. Include the sides and veggies you’d serve, when appropriate. Then, for each meal, make a list of all of the ingredients you’d need for that dinner. You don’t need to include staples like oil, seasonings, etc. Just include those ingredients you’d need to buy to prepare the meal. These lists are what you’ll refer to when making your weekly grocery list. But don’t worry about that yet. For now, just write down the meal idea and ingredient lists. At the very least, pick 7 meals, but you can do as many as you’d like. The more options, the more varied your eating will be from week to week. Come back next week to learn what step 2 is.
You’ll see one of the meals on my list this week is Wh Grn breaded Chick a la heidi with
rstd broc. Translation: Whole Grain Breaded Chicken Cutlets a la Heidi (a la Heidi means the sweet tomato sauce I serve on the chicken) with roasted broccoli. Here’s the chicken recipe if you want to include it on your list.
(In planning this week I was still being inspired by the Kretschmer Wheat Germ that was so generously given to me.)
Here you can see how the chicken should look cooking. The one on the right has already been flipped. Hope you try and enjoy this and Good luck as you begin menu planning! Let me know how it goes.
This post is linked to The Country Cook Potluck